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  • A Jewish man walks near the area where 5 people were stabbed at a Hasidic rabbi's home in Monsey, New York, U.S., December 29, 2019.

    A Jewish man walks near the area where 5 people were stabbed at a Hasidic rabbi's home in Monsey, New York, U.S., December 29, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 29 December 2019
Opinion

An unidentified man pulled out a knife and attacked several people before running out of the place of worship and leaving the crime scene in a vehicle.

Five people were injured on Saturday after a knife attack took place inside of a synagogue in a suburb of New York. According to reports, the attack occurred around 10 P.M. (EST), when visitors were attending a Hanukkah service at the Monsey Synagogue in Rockland County.

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Rockland County police said an unidentified man pulled out a knife and attacked several people before running out of the temple and leaving the crime scene in a vehicle.

The attacker reportedly pulled out a knife that was "almost like a broomstick," said Aron Kohn, who attended the Hanukkah celebration. Kohn said there were at least 100 people in the home at that time, as the rabbi was "lighting the candle" on the seventh night of Hanukkah. Kohn added that the suspect tried to run into a nearby synagogue, but someone closed the doors.

Hours later, local police reported that a suspect had been arrested in connection to the case, although the identity of the arrested person has not been disclosed and the possible reasons for the attack were not reported.

Officials are still working an active crime scene, Ramapo Police Chief Brad Weidel said in a news conference.

Rockland County -- where the stabbing took place -- has the largest Jewish population per capita of any U.S. county, according to New York state. More than 30% of its residents are Jewish.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the stabbing was "the latest in a string of attacks against members of the Jewish community in New York this week."

"Let me be clear: anti-Semitism and bigotry of any kind are repugnant to our values of inclusion and diversity and we have absolutely zero tolerance for such acts of hate," the governor said in a statement.

He directed the state's Hate Crime Task Force to investigate the incident. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of New York also said they were heading to the scene to learn more and coordinate with law enforcement.

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